The Five R’s of Saving Money While Grocery ShoppingSep 30, 2021 12:32PM ● By Jaycee Miller
While the art of clipping coupons from newspapers on Sundays and other days is rapidly becoming a thing of the past, it’s a safe bet that saving money while grocery shopping will likely never go out of style.
In commemoration of October being Financial Planning Month, it’s timely to consider the five R’s of saving money while grocery shopping in the 21st century.
The first "R"—researching—may take some time, says Kristen Regine, a professor of marketing, advertising and retail at Johnson & Wales University. “Shoppers have to do their homework. It seems like every grocery store has carved out their own little niche.”
She suggests shoppers frequently review multiple grocery stores’ flyers, find out when departments like bakery and meats put out new products and when the store’s deliveries occur. This may provide a better grasp of when grocery stores start new sales and what items are being put on sale, according to Regine.
After figuring out which grocery stores have the best prices, Regine advises becoming a frequent customer of those stores and signing up for their emails and downloading their apps.
This repeating—the second "R"—of shopping at certain stores whose prices are favorable and utilizing such promotions increases the likelihood of “getting the best deals and getting members rewards,” she says, like getting $10 back for every $200 spent.
The third "R"—replacing items on the grocery shopping list with cheaper alternatives can be done without sacrificing taste, multiple websites including HuffPost.com says frozen bananas dipped in chocolate or frozen yogurt can replace ice cream.
Some meat lovers also may find suitable alternatives, according to CanadianLiving.com. “If paying more isn’t in your budget, don’t worry—there are plenty of tasty, affordable beef alternatives out there,” it states. Some of the website’s suggestions include replacing ground beef with mushrooms, tofu or lentils. To save money on chicken or turkey stock, SimplyRecipes.com recommends that instead of buying canned versions, make it with leftover bones and skin from a leftover carcass, celery, carrots, onions and seasonings.
Remembering—the fourth "R"—what season fresh fruits and vegetables are grown in, then buying those items in that season, often saves money because “the supply is abundant and fresh, weather permitting,” says Claudia Schmidt, an assistant professor of agricultural economics at Penn State University.
For example, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says cucumbers are in season during summer, so buy that vegetable then. The same logic can apply to buying cranberries the fall, asparagus in the spring, etc. A local extension service can provide a produce growing calendar, Schmidt says.
The last "R"—resolving—consists of making a list before heading out to the grocery store and resolving to stick to it.
Shoppers that do not “may find it easy to grab things that aren’t needed,” reports cnbc.com. “You may also want to consider eating first or leaving the kids at home to avoid spur-of-the-moment items.”
Jaycee Miller is a freelance writer and researcher living in New Jersey.